Vice-Premier Li’s visit: today’s highlights

For what must be the 25th time in 10 years, Hong Kong is to become the world’s Yuan hub. This whole charade of Mainland leaders coming into town and announcing minuscule measures to loosen national policy as if they will have a noticeable impact and are designed for the benefit of Hong Kong is getting a bit tired. Maybe it made sense to alarmed Beijing officials to indulge in such silly PR stunts in the wake of the 2003 semi-uprising, but it’s hard to see what this is supposed to achieve today other than to allow fawning local leaders and media-owners an opportunity to do some embarrassing public cheerleading in praise of the honoured guest and his large box of gifts.

Still, the establishment’s mass-adulation of Vice Premier Li’s generosity gives Justice Secretary Wong Yan-lung an opportunity to be barely noticed as he makes his first public utterance since what seems like a very long time ago (and maybe we imagined it then). He pleads with us all to try to avoid screeching anything that could prejudice or affect the Court of First Instance’s judgement in the judicial review of overseas maids’ right to permanent residency.

Such a statement is apparently unprecedented, yet this is hardly the first-ever court case to excite widespread public interest and wild comment. This suggests that someone in government is worried that emotions are getting far too heated. There is a danger that a ruling against the maids – which is quite possible – will be seen here and abroad as the result of political pressure when it wasn’t. There is also a danger that Hong Kong’s reputation, such as it is, for being a groovy, hip, happy and modern city would be damaged by the inflated rhetoric and its racist undertones. Interestingly, yesterday also saw Vice-Premier Li call for Hong Kong to protect its rule of law, and China Daily helpfully printed an at-a-glance, panic-free, reassuring and objective guide to where the judicial review could lead.

For the administration to try to calm everyone down before the first maid’s case opens on Monday is a bit rich, since it surely set off the Vast-Flood-of-Brown-People Scare in the first place by announcing in late July that 120,000 maids had lived here for seven years. The Democratic Alliance for the Blah Blah of HK almost immediately announced their blood-curdling warnings of mass immigration, unemployment and welfare bills, and lawmaker Regina Ip’s group began calling for Beijing to ‘interpret’ the Basic Law on the matter. (Paul Tse, legislator for the tourism – of all things – industry beat everyone to it several days before all this but is too eccentric to count.)

Just a few days later, on August 1, Wong’s Justice Department lawyers prepared to submit their late affidavit to the court containing the official apocalyptic vision of Hong Kong swamped with Filipino welfare addicts and their millions of starving pickaninnies. Subsequently, the Liberal Party went for the Civic Party’s jugular on the issue, demanding it declare itself pro- or anti-brown people – a CP lawyer acting on the maids’ side.

In short, it looks very much as if the government contrived and indeed coordinated the panic rather than simply added to it after it began (and it certainly did nothing at all to soothe people’s irrational fears). It would have done so to get at the Civic Party, and it would have had two motives. One is to undercut the CP’s chances at November’s District Council elections. These polls are a bit less trivial than usual, as the electorate will return five of the winners to the Legislative Council in 2012. The other is simply revenge and spite. The CP outraged the government with its sneaky but ill-timed by-elections-as-referendum stunt last year, made officials planning to ban by-elections look stupid more recently and probably hope to get one of its smarmy smart-alec lawyers to nominally run against and humiliate Henry Tang or whoever Beijing chooses to be our next leader.

It would be nice to think that Chief Executive Donald Tsang and his pals are not as childish or petty as that. But it’s hard.

Meanwhile, Vice-Premier Li urges Hong Kong to pursue harmonious development and make life better for its people, and make itself a more dynamic and innovative city.


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13 Responses to Vice-Premier Li’s visit: today’s highlights

  1. Sir Crispin says:

    Another day of manic hysteria, brought to you by Asia’s World Schitty.

  2. darovia says:

    We are assuming of course that if they ‘win’ the 120,000 (or is that million?) will actually WANT to live here; some will, many won’t. My wife of 20 years – a Filipina – refuses to live in HKG having experienced eight years of blatant rudenesss and prejudice. Harmonious development my a***.

  3. chopped onions says:

    All this has really done is prove to the rest of Asia that when it comes to inbred, racist, myopic, immigrant stock, self loathing, cretins, our government and many of its lackys, truely deserve the title “Asia’s Finest”

  4. Maugrim says:

    There’s also a possible subtext. The Government and their cronies are pissed off that groups such as the Pan Democrats with their by-election stunt and now the CP with the judicial review, are able to bring big ticket items to the fore that severely question the status quo. Part of the government’s intent is to stop such tactics entirely. I do also enjoy the new phrase that’s being trotted out by Government hacks, ‘people want/are asking for’ when there is neither any evidence of people making such requests nor is lip service given to what people really want.

  5. Joe Blow says:

    Crispin, there is a flight leaving every 5 minutes or so from the world’s most admired airport. When is yours ? Don’t forget to send a postcard when you get back to Swansea.

    Actually I think there are too many Flippers already. When I walk around CWB on a Sunday afternoon I always get the feeling I am strolling through Ermita. And what is it with the tomboy lesbians who dress like truckers ?

  6. Maugrim says:

    JB the Phillos tell me they are Indonesians

  7. Old Timer says:

    I haven’t been to Ermita lately, but they’re about 98% Indonesians in CWB.

  8. Basil says:

    @Joe Blow: Exactly how many are too many Filipinos? and what is the problem with tomboy lesbians who dress like truckers?
    I think wheat we have too many is prejudiced a**holes.

  9. Major Major says:

    Guy can’t tell the difference between Indonesians and Filipinas? Or Bahasa and Tagalog? No problem in his world.

  10. Joe Blow says:

    Too many is when every nook and cranny is occupied by the little ones, and when leisurely shopping becomes impossible. It may be their day off but it is also my day off. And believe me, I can tell the difference between Conchita from Ilocos and Salimah from Makassar. If only because most of the Indos are wrapped up in full-length curtains and stuff which reflects Muslim modesty. And I am well aware of the congregation of Indos in the corner of Victoria Park and the back streets leading towards Hysan Avenue.

  11. Tiu Fu Fong says:

    Solution: Spend your day off doing something more productive than shopping/eating in Causeway Bay.

  12. Roger Maxims says:

    Now, white devils and aussie inmates, is the time to put a full-stop to the racial language and to start building a harmonious, Chinese-only no-ESF-subsidy dim-sum bonds Asia’s world city!

  13. Plod says:

    JB – I’ve got a mate who’s more than happy seeing every nook and cranny filled by little ones during his Sunday afternoon ‘tea dancing’ in Wanchai.

    I personally try to avoid anywhere busy at the weekends but I do find wandering through Central quite an interesting and pleasant experience given that they all seem so relaxed and happy. Like walking past a school playground – the happy vibe just seems to rub off on oneself.

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